hello and welcome back to "newsline," i'm shery ahn. let's get started with the head lines. the families of japanese abducted by north korean agents are hoping a new investigation will finally lead to their relatives coming home. residents living near a nuclear plant in southwestern japan are saying no to allowing the facility to go back online. they filed for a temporary court injunction. and japan's prime minister is set to address leaders from
across asia, and remind them he will not tolerate the use of force to change the status quo. north korean authorities have agreed to open a new investigation into the fate of japanese citizens abducted in the 1970s and '80s. japanese government officials say north korean agents kidnapped at least 17 japanese nationals. prime minister shinzo abe says he hopes the investigation will finally resolve the issue. negotiators reached the agreement after three days of talks in stockholm. in response the japanese say they're ready to ease restrictions on travel, and allow north korean ships on humanitarian missions into japanese ports. but they say that will only happen once officials in pyongyang set up a special committee and start their investigation. prime minister abe says his government will urge the north koreans to do their work effectively. >> translator: i believe we can finally open the door toward
freeing the abductees. until now, this door wouldn't open. >> nor koreans heard the news on state-run television. >> translator: on the issues of handling the remains of japanese and when survivors are found, we agree to discuss the next course of action and take the necessary measures for returning them to japan. >> north korean leaders reneged on a similar agreement several years ago. japanese officials say they'll monitor the investigation closely to make sure it results in the abductees coming home. north korea's top negotiator at the talks says officials in pyongyang will start to set things in motion. song il ho is the envoy for normalizing relations with japan. he read out a statement released by the state-run korean central news agency. he said both sides agreed to act quickly. >> translator: our country will set up a special committee as soon as possible, and inform the
japanese side. >> song said it's important for the two sides to build trust based on the agreement they made. south korean and u.s. officials have been pushing for years to make progress on a range of issues, including north korea's nuclear program. and they're cautious in their support. diplomats with the south korean foreign ministry released a statement. they say they understand the japanese government's position on the abduction issue from a humanitarian standpoint. still, they're wary about any negotiations involving north korea. the spokesperson for the u.s. state department said japanese officials notified their american counterparts about the agreement in advance. >> we continue to support japanese efforts to resolve the abductions issue in a transparent manner. >> psaki would not answer questions about japanese plans to ease sanctions. the families of the abductees have fought for years to find out what happened.
they're urging japanese government leaders to ensure the investigation will lead to their relatives' return. japanese and north korean leaders met in 2004 at a summit in pyongyang. the north koreans agreed to conduct an investigation into the fate of those who were kidnapped. but japanese officials questioned the credibility of the inquiry. the north koreans said what they said were the remains of two of the abductees. but researchers found that dna did not match. the relatives are hoping this time things will be different. >> translator: we believe this is the last chance. i hope this time the problem will be resolved. >> translator: i'm not really happy yet. i'm anxious. and we'll have to wait to see what happens. >> the relatives are to learn more in a government briefing.
people who track events on the korean peninsula are trying to put all of this in context. professor iz ummmy is the director of the center for korean studies at the university of shizuoka. he said the north koreans will come back with some answers. >> first of all, i sense pyongyang very much welcomed the japanese government position to have changed. the last decade the japanese government only almost only focus on the abduction case. but now, the change. now japanese government said that japan seek normalization with the dprk and during this process japan also tried to resolve the so-called unfortunate past with the korean people. so such a change of the japanese
government to deal north korean issues, well for pyongyang is quite welcome. so therefore this time they agreed to reinvestigate the abduction case. also already this year the north korea clearly emphasized that their efforts to -- the economy as well as to improve their people standard of living so therefore they need very good international circumstances, and in that sense, they hope to improve the relationship with japan. so this is one of the reasons why north koreans very much to accept the japanese request. i think with such a deep investigation of the abduction case, actually it's not something new. so actually since 2008, when we
basically agreed upon to start the investigation, so it means in a sense that both government were to consider, to examine how to make up the agreement, how to proceed and how to make some good result. so therefore the ones that this investigation will start, surely within a couple, maybe a couple months, north korea will give us some result. so i'm sure they will find out to some the victims of the abduction. i think so. so the problem is how many abductees will be -- we'll find out. find out. and also how at the time the japan will perceive that it's a result or how to respond with north koreans some effort to find out the victims of the abduction. so, then if japan would be very
much welcome, maybe we can go forward. but, if japan will have a very serious frustration, dysfunction with -- for both sides to move forward. people living near a nuclear plant in southwestern japan are fighting to keep the facility from going back online. they say the plant in kagoshima prefecture is not earthquake resistant and could leak radioactive substances. 23 people are seeking a temporary injunction with the district court. they're demanding that kyushu electric power company not restart the facility. the plaintiffs say they filed for the order as nuclear safety regulators have prioritized the inspection of the sendai plant. kyushu electric officials say they'll study the contents of
the finding. they carried out an investigation after checking nearby underground faults, and say the plant is safe. this month a court in central japan ordered the operator of another nuclear plant not to restart two of its reactors. it said their safety measures were inadequate. the operator has appealed the ruling. japan's prime minister abe is set to lay out his vision for security in asia. he's headed to singapore, where he'll address a defense ministers from across the asia pacific. he's expected to tell them he'll resist any effort to upset the balance through military might. >> translator: i want to send a strong message against any use of force to change the status quo. >> defense ministers from the region meet every year at the asia security summit. abe will be the first japanese prime minister to give the keynote address. he's expected to explain what he calls japan's pro-active contribution to peace.
the ministers are meeting at a time of heightened tensions. many are concerned about china's maritime activities in the east and south china seas. chinese officials have accused pilots from japan's self-defense forces of reckless behavior. a defense ministry spokesperson was commenting on an incident last week involving planes from the two countries. officials in tokyo say at least one chinese jet on saturday came as close as 30 meters to an sdf plane over the east china sea. they launched a protest with china, and sate it was an extremely dangerous action. beijing announced an air defense identification zone over the sea in november. a defense ministry spokesperson says japanese aircraft have pursued and obstructed chinese plane morse than ten times since then. he also says two sdf jets came within about ten meters of a chinese plane in november. u.s. officials have
criticized the chinese action. a state department spokesperson says any attempt to interfere with freedom of aviation and international air space raises regional tensions. and we have a series of economic data out of japan today, ron madison has the latest from the business desk. >> yeah, that's right, shery. in fact the data shows that the sales tax hike in april is having a considerable impact on the economy. first, the cost of goods and services went up at the fastest pace in more than 20 years. officials at the internal affairs ministry say the consumer price index jumped by 3.2% over the same period last year. that's the biggest leap since 1991. officials say the consumption tax hike from 5% to 8% was the main factor. the index does exclude the prices of fresh food, which are volatile, and can skew the numbers. ministry officials also say the tax hike forced many families to make heavy cutbacks on spending. they say households of two or more people spent an average of about $3,000 in april. that's down nearly 5% in yen
terms from the same period last year. it was the biggest drop since march 2011 when that major earthquake and tsunami hit japan. now the spending slump was also bigger than in april, 1997. that was after the last rise in the consumption tax. ministry officials say the decrease was within their expectations. and over at the economy ministry, officials say manufacturers produced less after the tax hike. they said industrial output in april was down 2.5% from march. it's the first decrease in two months. the official said the biggest factor here was a fall in the production of vehicles and electronic parts and devices. they also said the output of cosmetics showed a decline. the officials downgraded their sentiment on the index for the first time in 19 months. they expect industrial production to increase 1.7% this month. and then fall 2% in june. well, economists at the international monetary fund are upbeat on the japanese economy, though. they've offered a positive outlook despite some setbacks
stemming from the consumption tax hike. fife o imf officials assess each country's policies. david lipton held a news conference in tokyo after the imf completed the latest review of the japanese economy. >> over the next year, japan's economy looks set to weather the effects of the consumption tax hike and continue growing above potential. but the imf official says japan needs greater structural and fiscal reform efforts to shift to self-sustain growth over the medium term. they call on japan to increase the employment of women and elderly workers and accept more overseas workers into the labor force. the officials also proposed that the country gradually increase the consumption tax to at least 15%. they say that lowering corporate taxes will raise investment and growth but not sufficiently enough to offset a revenue decline. they stress that the government would need to identify additional revenue sources to
make up for that decline. on to the markets now. many asian equities facing downward pressure as we close out this trading week. investors refraining from taking risks because of a lack of trading cues today. tokyo's nikkei snapped a six-day winning streak. hong kong's hang seng managing to eke out a gain. the nikkei falling 0.3%, it finished at 14,632. the decline was due to profit taking and adjustments at the end of the month. the index staged the first monthly advance that we've seen this year. and in jakarta the main index closing down 1.8%, 4,893. selling pressure is pretty strong. so far this year the index has climbed 15%, becoming the top performer among southeast asian markets. and the hang seng index seeing gains of 0.3%, 23,081. shares of hong kong developers rose. many investors were cautious, though, ahead of the release of chinese manufacturing data over the weekend. well, japanese people
working for major corporations are making home bigger paychecks this year. a government survey shows that more than 40% of large firms raised the base pay of their employees this spring. industry ministry officials polled 1,762 firms listed on 9 tokyo stock exchange. about the results of their annual wage negotiations. more than 900 of them responded. the officials found that 43% gave base pay raises this year. that was a big jump from last year. only 6% hiked their base pay in 2013. many carmakers, as well as electronic and machinery manufacturers were among those companies. the yen's decline helped to improve their performances. 38% of the companies that raised the base pay said they did it for the first time in six years, since the global financial crisis of 2008. people in india have high hopes for the new administration of prime minister nra end ra modi. they want modi and his team to kick-start the country's slowing economy.
rajran is playing a key role in india's efforts to put the economy back on track. he's been the governor of india's central bank since september. since he took over as chief of the reserve bank of india, rajran has been dealing with the falling rupee and high inflation. nhk asked the visiting governor about the challenges he faces and his hopes. >> thank you so much for coming. i'm very much looking forward to seeing you. >> well, i look forward, too. i think the resounding message from the election is end gentleman today is stable government which is going to last for the full five-year term. it has a leader with a mandate. i think implementation of pending legislation, implementation of pending projects, both would be sufficient, in my view, to give a big boost to the economy. >> reporter: since rajan took office last year his top priority has been controlling high inflation.
sharp price hikes have been putting heavy pressure on the economy. consumer prices rose more than 10% last year. rajan moved quickly and raised interest rates three times in four months to stabilize them. >> inflation is one of the big imped imgts standing in the way of growth. that with these high and fluctuating levels of inflation, not only do we not get enough financial savings, people are investing in reals atets because they're not putting the money into deposits and so an but also creates uncertainty for industry. >> there are some experts raising speculation that the rbi's high interest rate policy would have a conflict with prime minister modi's growth strategy. >> we will bring down inflation to 8 at the end of the year, 6 at the end of next year. that is a path we're rolling out. we're not saying we're going to
do it today. with a huge increase in interest rates but we're going to do it with moderate interest rates, so that the economy doesn't get killed in the process. >> india and other emerging economies have suffered since u.s. federal reserve officials hinted last year the fed would scale back its monetary easing. rajan implies that improving the current account balance and improving the rupee have strengthened the indian economy. >> while we experience some turbulence, with our stronger government, and the risk perceptions having changed in the eyes of investors, vis-a-vis, india, that we're not we will not be as subject to volatility. >> reporter: but he repeat his criticism of the easy money policies of central banks in industrial countries. >> perhaps we should examine unconventional policies and ask
is this really needed when we're in the state in which the economy is. does it have positive effects for the economy, and do those positive effects for the economy and for the globe outweigh the negative effects it has on other countries. that's the kind of debate first we should have. >> could you explain a bit more in details about the measure, the concrete systems to prevent the spillover effect? >> we have to think of a better kind of safety net in the world, whereby countries when they experience a lot of capital inflow don't, you know, have to resort to substantial reserve accumulation to avoid the potential native consequences when that capital goes out. so think of stronger safety nets around the world such as better imf lines of credit, more tolerable ones. >> all right. that is going to do it for biz this hour. here's the markets.
former prime minister julia tymoshenko got about 13%. poroshenko's aides say they're organizing his inauguration for next week at independence square in kiev. demonstrators camped out there for months and ended up driving former president viktor yanukovych from office. u.s. secretary of state john kerry spoke over the phone with russian foreign minister sergey lavrov. they discussed the separatist movement in eastern ukraine. kerry pressed lavrov to end all support for the militants. >> he also urged russia to reach out to president-elect poroshenko and begin working to the to de-escalate the conflict. >> she said kerry pushed lavrov to get the militants to lay down their arms. egypt's former army chief has won a divisive victory to become the country's new president, but some of abdel fattah al sisi's opponents are questioning the results. local media said with most of the ballots counted, sisi had won more than 92% of the vote.
but they say fewer than half of eligible voters turned out. and sisi faced only one other contender. >> translator: egypt's economy will now develop. >> translator: cheers to the country's new leader. i will follow his ideas. >> sisi led a group of generals last july that overthrew then-president mohamed morsi. and media outlets gave strong support to his presidential campaign. commentators said he could save the nation from chaos. the military backed interim government has been cracking down on morsi supporters in the muslim brotherhood. they've rejected the results, calling the election a sham and posted calls on the internet for people across egypt to protest the election. a heat wave is pushing temperatures into the 40s for parts of asia. meteorologist jonathan oh joins me now. jonathan, i hear people in india are having a rough time? >> yes, shery, they are. because the temperatures are really, really warming up.
we're talking about highs to around 40 degrees or so. so we have a couple of pieces of video coming out of india. let's take a look at it and show you what's going on. in western india, they're known for the's at-ic lion at the national park there. forest officials are trying to keep these water ponds filled as the heat wave bakes the area. personnel have set up 400 pods to keep the temperatures hydrated. also here in northern india people also trying to find relief from the heat. juice vendors have plenty of business as visitors to the taj mahal and other tourist destinations tried to keep cool with the beverages. and they're not the only ones dealing with the heat. let's take a look at some other locations where we're seeing highs into the low 40s. beijing up to 41 degrees. and also into hokkaido, saw a high of around 33, 34 degrees yesterday. and that was actually warmer than the high down in okinawa. so yes we're seeing the high pressure really bringing in the warm air and driving it over the korean peninsula, into japan.
and it looks like we're going to be dealing with even more warm weather as we head into the weekend. now, you notice the rain continues to fall in southern china. but it is going to slowly move toward the north and so i think beijing, you're actually going to get a little bit of relief when it comes to the temperatures. take a look at the forecast here. 34 for saturday. that's above average. but then by sunday and into monday, highs should be dropping off into the upper 20s. hopefully the rain will be helping you out. but in india, japan, and also thailand, still seeing highs way above average for this time of year. so it's going to be a scorcher. please make sure you take the proper precautions as you go throughout the weekend. let's take a look at the forecast in the americas. and we are talking about some flooding problems. we saw a lot of flash flooding taking place in the deep south toward louisiana, alabama, and mississippi. it looks like this low, because there's no real forcing mechanism to move the system, it looks like we're going to be dealing with even more flash flooding going throughout your friday. meanwhile, the back door front
that's supposed to move through the carolinas has stalled. it is going to be a focal point for some thunderstorms as we go throughout friday. i think by saturday we should see the system start to dissolve so hopefully we should see a little bit of an improvement when it comes to the sunnier conditions. another low pressure system has moved toward canada. that extended cold front that was responsible for bringing some severe weather into the dakotas bringing the possibility of flash flooding for friday, getting hit pretty hard with this particular system so expect some rain as we go throughout friday, and as we go into the weekend, it also looks like you're going to be dealing with some rain. denver, high 24 degrees for friday. 29 oklahoma city, chance for rain into d.c. and new york with highs in the low 20s. finally in europe, we continue to monitor the low pressure system now moving into the scandinavian peninsula. bringing some rain and thunderstorms for the eastern portions of asia into russia. and also another low down into the balkan peninsula. you don't need any more rain but it looks like the low will continue to provide plenty of moisture for you.
meanwhile another low down into italy. looks like that's going to draw out some of the moisture over france then eventually dry western europe out. so we're expecting a little bit of an improvement. high of 21 degrees in paris. 16 in london. but yes, more rain expected for eastern europe. so make sure that you stay tuned and have the umbrella with you if you do have any outdoor activities. for the weekend, some spots expecting some brighter conditions into amsterdam, and frankfurt and marseille highs anywhere from the upper teens to the mid 20s as we go through the weekend. hope you have a good day wherever you are. here's your extended outlook.
>> welcome to the france 24 newsroom. it is 1 p.m. in paris, 2 p.m. in kiev. headlines this hour. russia says it will cut off gas supplies over a past bill and tells berlin's it will keep -- berlin will keep the lines open. beguntaly klitschko has his new job as mayor of the capital of ukraine. troops on the ground have so far stop -- failed to stop the kerry and violence